Where shall I Find Answers to my Questions? The Lobbies of Delhi or the Forests of Tral?
By Syed Muneeb Masoodi
Kashmir is more like a mystery than a reality. Nobody knows what Kashmir actually is, and everybody shoots arrows in the dark. Everybody gives a new definition to Kashmir. Some say: ‘It is a disputed area’, while others say; ‘It is a terrorist state’, or that, ‘It is the heaven on Earth’. While each person has his or her own opinion about Kashmir and Kashmiris, it is when all these opinions about Kashmir intermingle, Kashmir issue is born, or most appropriately “Masla-e-Kashmir” as it is popularly known. This ‘Masla-e-Kashmir’, has got many faces that is full of mysteries. The sad irony is that no one really has any definitive answers for these mysteries. Nobody knows how to reveal these secrets from the dead heart of Kashmir. A common man or a student like me is left wondering.
Even though Kashmir is famous all over the world for its pristine natural beauty, and is rightly called as the, ‘Heaven on Earth’, it is only a heaven to watch, but a hell to live in. Kashmir was a land of saints; it was a pious land; it was a land of peace and non-violence. But now demons without horns are in their full power. They do not miss even a single chance to make streams of blood flow through the streets of Kashmir and try to make each piece of land turn into graves for youth of Kashmir. Maybe I am next. Who knows?
As a young Kashmiri, I have a litany of questions to pose: Are we people born terrorists? Are we born stone-pelters? Are our mothers destined to mourn forever? Do our mothers give birth to us for the bullets? Why are we made orphans? Why our mothers and sisters are made widows? Why our children are made victims of bullets and pellets? Why is our youth made to die an unknown death?
Our land is full of blood, our land is full of unknown graves, our hearts are full of pain, anger and distress, our eyes are full of tears-tears of blood and screams. Where did those people go who were taken by ‘Armed Forces’ for investigation? Why didn’t they return home? Am I not waiting for them still? Are you not?
Why the so called ‘democratic government’ has no record of these ‘disappeared’ youth? Those women, who lost their husbands, are still waiting for them to return; those mothers who have lost their sons are still waiting for them to return; those sisters who have lost their brothers are still waiting them to return, and those children who have lost their fathers are still waiting for them to return. Though all these people know that their loved ones are lost somewhere in darkness and they would never return; and that their smiling faces and their shining eyes are lost forever but still there is a wild hope in their hearts that one day the gate of their homes will open again and their own will come back.
To settle down the situation, the Government gave these bereaved families so called compensation. The Government wants to cover its crimes with money and it incredibly thinks that money can take a human being’s place. This is a form of exploitation but Kashmiris are used to being exploited. Everyone has used Kashmiri people for their own benefits; everyone has used Kashmiri people to fill their pockets, and everyone only condemns the death of slain youth of Kashmir, but no one has ever opened a gate of life for them. No one gives life to us. Only death hovers on our heads.
The Government of India and Pakistan, the Occupational forces, accompanied by the separatists are all responsible for the bloodshed in Kashmir, where common people like me bleed. They bleed us to keep their pot boiling. During all these years of distress all of them have become well trained in shedding crocodile tears on the death of Kashmiri people.
Most are busy in politicking on deaths of Kashmiri people and everyone around is busy in cooking their own food on the burning hearts of our mothers. The heat of blood has turned hearts into stones; cries have taken the shape of rebellious voices, funeral processions have taken the shape of freedom rallies, and mourning has turned into anger. Should I survive among a few others, could someone say where exactly should I go for getting the answers for these questions? Will I find answers in the lobbies of Delhi or the forests of Tral?
Syed Muneeb Masoodi , a student and an aspiring photographer can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org